Stegosaur Stone, by Patricia Bernard

Five minutes later they reached the track that ran along the cliffs of Reddell beach. Abba poked her head above the bushes to see if it was safe to break cover. With a hiss of warning she dropped to the ground, gluing herself to the earth. Giles did the same as two men staggered up the hill carrying a heavy load in a blanket slung between them.

When Abba, James and Giles sneak out at night to see the Stegosaur footprints in the National Park, the last thing they expect is to witness a murder. But they do, and then don’t know what to do about it – if they admit to being witnesses they will all be in trouble with their parents for even being there.

The next day they discover that, as well as a murder, the Park was the scene of another crime. The Stegosaur prints have been stolen.

The three teens decide they must collect enough evidence to prove who committed the crime and where the precious prints are now. There isn’t much time and they are up against a gang which has already proven itself capable of murder. Will they survive long enough to ensure justice is done?

Stegosaur Stone is a fast-paced novel for 10-14 year old readers, and is especially likely to appeal to those with an interest in fossils and lovers of mystery titles. Set largely in Brooome, in the north of Western Australia, with the final action playing out in Sydney, young readers will learn about a place they may know little about.

A thrilling read.

Stegosaur Stone, by Patricia Stone
Scholastic Press, 2004

Fords and Flying Machines – The Diary of Jack McLaren

At 14, Jack McLaren leaves his parents and twin sister behind in Sydney as he heads north to Longreach in Queensland where he is apprenticed as a motor mechanic to his uncle George.

Not only does Jack get to spend his days working on engines, fulfilling his life’s dreams, but he soon has adventures he could never have dreamt of. Jack and George travel on the first automobile to drive the Gulf Track from Longreach to Katherine, accompanying two pilots who are surveying suitable airstrip sites for the great air race from England to Australia.

Snaking their way across the outback, encountering crocodiles and snakes, and contending with punctures, broken axles and breakdowns, Jack and his fellow travellers are sure there is a better way to travel these vast distances. The Queensland and Northern Territory Aerial Service is about to be born, and Jack has a front row seat.

Told in diary format, Fords and Flying Machines is part of the outstanding My Story series, from Scholastic. Author Patricia Bernard manages to explore not just the history of the period (1919-1921), but also the social issues of the time – class, unemployment, gender equality and more.

AN outstanding read for 10 to 14 year olds.

My Story: Fords and Flying Machines – The Diary of Jack McLaren, by Patricia Bernard
Scholastic, 2003